A unique medical approach to treat cancer (Video)

Oncolytics is developing an intravenously delivered immuno-oncolytic virus called Pelareorep.

Oncolytics Biotech Inc. (TSX: ONC) is developing an intravenously delivered immuno-oncolytic virus called pelareorep, for the treatment of solid tumors and hematological malignancies. Pelareorep is a non-pathogenic, proprietary isolate of the unmodified reovirus that: 1) induces selective tumor lysis, and 2) promotes an inflamed tumor phenotype through innate and adaptive immune responses. The company’s clinical development plan is based on these two components of the mechanism of action, with a focus on obtaining regulatory approval as soon as possible.
 

 
Skye Collyer: Hi, I’m Skye Collyer, and you’re watching Market One Minute. Joining us today is Matt Coffey, CEO and President of Oncolytics Biotech. Tell us about Oncolytics.
 
Matt Coffey: Oncolytics is a development stage biotechnology company that’s developing an immune- oncology virus for the treatment of cancer, both solid and heme malignancy.
 
Skye Collyer: Your drug, Pelareorep, is in development. Can you describe to our viewers how it will work?
 
Matt Coffey: What happens is the virus is administered systemically into the bloodstream. It gets into cancer cells specifically and replicates there. And it engages the immune system so that your immune system will infiltrate and attack the cancer cells. Basically, training the patient’s immune system to be its most important weapon.
 
Skye Collyer: Can you tell us more about how you might combine Pelareorep with checkpoint inhibitors?
 
Matt Coffey: We are currently looking at a number of combinations with checkpoint inhibitors and what checkpoint inhibitors are, they’re a class of compounds that block the proteins that stop your immune system from seeing the tumor.
 
By combining the virus with that, what we’re hoping to see is more of an inflamed phenotype, that’s to say more immune cells, coming to fight the viral infection. And in combination with checkpoint inhibitors much more effectively attacking the cancer.
 
Skye Collyer:
Are checkpoint combinations what are going to drive Oncolytics in the future?
 
Matt Coffey:
Immune checkpoint inhibitors right now are the fastest growing segment of immune oncology, and we have a great deal of preclinical work to suggest that there is a synergy there.
 
We’re currently running studies in multiple myeloma, a phase two in pancreatic cancer, and we’ve recently just started a study in breast cancer called Aware One which is to be run in conjunction with Roche’s Tecentriq.
 
And this is to support work that we’ve previously done in the phase two environment, where we’ve seen close to a doubling of overall survival with women with hormone receptor positive breast cancer disease. The checkpoint inhibitors are going to play a large role in the future of the company going forward.
 
Skye Collyer: And it sounds like Oncolytics has a fairly unique business model. Can you share with us your strategy going forward?
 
Matt Coffey: Immune Checkpoint Blockade, is it a very fast-growing franchise right now. And what we wanted to establish was ourselves as a backbone to enhance the activity of this franchise. So, we’re working now in phase two studies with multiple myeloma, pancreatic, and breast cancer with drugs coming, the checkpoint inhibitors from Merck, from Bristol Myers Squibb and from Roche. And what we wanted to do was establish our virus as a backbone for this, and create a competitive dynamic between the companies, to lead to a licensure or an acquisition.
 
Skye Collyer: So, which milestones should investors be on the lookout for, for 2019?
 
Matt Coffey: I think the biggest milestone that we’ve had in the last six or nine months is the biomarker that we’ve just identified and spoke of. And it’ll be presented later at a conference towards the end of March called the American Association for Cancer Research.
 
What a biomarker is, and the importance of it is, it’s a simple blood draw and it allows physicians to predict whether the patient is likely to respond to our treatment. This is very significant for us because it allows us to run the studies more quickly, and more cheaply because less patients are required because we can enrich for those who are going to respond, or likely to respond.
 
And most importantly, it gives you a much greater likelihood of having a positive outcome because of the predictive function that a biomarker plays in the protocol.
 
Skye Collyer: Thanks so much for joining us, Matt.
 
Matt Coffey:
Thanks for having me.